What Is A Rehab Home? (Correct answer)

Rehab mortgages are a type of home improvement loans that can be used to purchase a property in need of work — the most common of which is the FHA 203(k) loan. These let buyers borrow enough money to not only purchase a home, but to cover the repairs and. renovations a fixer-upper property might need.

  • A house rehab is the process of taking a property and restoring and improving upon it. This usually helps boost the property into satisfactory, or even superb, condition without drastically changing the floor plan.


What does it mean to rehab a house?

The rehabbing definition is when an investor renovates a property to improve it. Rehabbing can be approached several ways but is most often purchased at a discounted price and renovated intending to resell. This process is also known as house flipping.

What is considered a full rehab?

A home that requires a complete rehab project is more than likely a property that has been left standing for a while without any attention whatsoever. Fixing up a rehab often means replacing floors, along with significant systems in the home, such as the electrical, heating and plumbing.

How much does it take to rehab a house?

Cost to rehab a house. The average cost to rehab a house is $20,000 to $75,000 or $20 to $50 per square foot. A full gut rehab costs $100,000 to $200,000 to remodel a house completely. Generally, the cost per square feet gets cheaper as the house size increases.

Is rehabbing a house worth it?

A fixer-upper may be a good investment. But it can also be a huge money pit if you estimate renovations incorrectly, contract out for most projects, and skip an inspection. To ensure a fixer-upper house is well worth the money, look at comparable homes (known in real estate as comps) in the neighborhood.

How long does it take to rehab a house?

It can take anywhere from six weeks to six months to rehab a home. There are several factors investors can use to determine how long a project will take, including the size of the property, the specific renovation projects, and your team of laborers.

What is the difference between rehab and renovation?

Renovation is the process of making something look and function like new. Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation means something very similar to renovation, but it is often used in a slightly different context.

Can you do rehab at home?

Rehab at Home is a hospital substitute treatment program for rehab services in the comfort of your home rather than staying in hospital. It lets you receive short-term therapy services like physio and wound care after surgery at home – as long as your doctor agrees!

Do you rehab house interior or exterior first?

Do all of the foundational and exterior work first. It’s natural to want to move on to the next phase of your project, but ensure the house is sound before you begin interior work. That means replacing windows and putting on a new roof if needed.

Is renovating an old house worth it?

Old houses can be bought for less. If you’re looking for a true fixer-upper, you’ll likely pay less than you would for a new home. And if you do the renovations yourself, you can save thousands of dollars in the long run and you’ll end up with a great investment. An old house has plenty of character.

How do I get money to rehab my house?

It can be in the form of:

  1. A purchase mortgage, with additional funds for renovations.
  2. A refinance of your current mortgage with a cash payout for home improvements.
  3. A home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC)
  4. An unsecured personal loan.
  5. A government loan, such as Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan or FHA 203(k) loan.

What does a rehabilitation do?

Rehabilitation is care that can help you get back, keep, or improve abilities that you need for daily life. These abilities may be physical, mental, and/or cognitive (thinking and learning). You may have lost them because of a disease or injury, or as a side effect from a medical treatment.

Why do people buy fixer uppers?

Buying fixer-upper homes is currently a popular investment in the housing market, especially since lower-priced houses increase housing confidence in home buyers. On the one hand, it is a great way to purchase a home below market value and sell it for more than you paid.

Do you regret buying a fixer-upper?

As many as one in three people say they regret their home remodeling projects, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Scyon Walls. So if you are going to undertake renovating a fixer-upper, Drew and Jonathan have a few tips on how to do it right and avoid regrets.

Is it cheaper to renovate or build new?

As a rule of thumb, renovations are often less expensive than building new. However, if you’re renovating a particularly old building that’s seen better days, this may not be the case.

What’s The Difference Between a Fixer-Upper and a Rehab Home

It’s one thing to purchase a property that will require careful loving care on a regular basis. Purchasing a property that requires extensive renovation means embarking on a project that will require more than a fresh coat of paint. For some people, going to rehab is not out of the question; for others, it is best to stay away from such facilities. However, when it comes to purchasing a property that requires rehabilitation, it is important to understand what you are getting yourself into before proceeding.

Let’s take a look at both buying a rehab and buying a fixer-upper in the sections below.

Who Should Buy a Rehab Home?

Pin First and foremost, let us define the difference between a renovation and a fixer-upper property. A home that requires extensive rehabilitation is more than likely a property that has been standing for some time without receiving any care at all. The owners of these types of properties have been experiencing financial troubles for a significant length of time. Because there is a scarcity of funds, items that require attention are frequently disregarded, exacerbating the situation further.

  1. A rehab house entails a significant amount of additional labor, and you will most likely wind up with a to-do list that is as long as your arm of things to complete.
  2. Most significantly, you must analyze the property before enlisting the services of a professional house inspector.
  3. Is the HVAC system salvageable, or has it reached the end of its useful life and will have to be replaced?
  4. It is possible that doors and windows have reached the end of their useful life.
  5. The reality is that when it comes to rehabbing real estate, it is all too simple to wind up with merely four sound walls.
  6. If this is the case, you may want to reconsider your decision to become engaged in such a large-scale initiative.
  7. If you are a construction contractor, investing in low-cost rehab property is generally a wise decision.

What About a Fixer-Upper?

A fixer-upper, on the other hand, is an entirely different ballgame. The majority of the time, you will be able to get away with changing the kitchen, the flooring, the bathrooms, and decorating the home. Anything more than that, and you’ve crossed the line into rehabilitation area. On top of that, the landscaping will almost certainly require a lot of attention. However, if the swimming pool is in need of repair or renovation, you should rethink your decision before proceeding with the job. In general, a fixer-upper is a good investment for first-time buyers or those who are capable of doing a significant amount of the work themselves.

It all boils down to being honest with yourself and not taking on too much responsibility.

When purchasing a fixer-upper property, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Be completely honest with yourself while considering whether to purchase a rehab or a fixer-upper property.

Learning How to Budget

If you have never worked on a renovation project before, buying a fixer-upper is the greatest option for beginners. Consider it a project and use the opportunity to learn from it. One of the most crucial things you should learn is how to manage your finances. There are undoubtedly advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a fixer-upper. From a positive perspective, it has the potential to be a very effective technique to save money. If you’re taking on a fixer-upper or a restoration job, having a budget in place is essential.

  1. To put it another way, it is simple to waste your money.
  2. For example, if you purchase an ancient piece of land with the intention of operating a company from it, such as a guest home or Bed & Breakfast, it may ultimately pay for itself.
  3. When it comes to planning your budget, should you take everything into consideration?
  4. The costs of even the most basic building items, such as screws, nails, timber, and finish material, may rapidly pile up if you do not plan ahead.
  5. When you intend to reside in the property for an extended period of time, a rehab project is something you should consider.
  6. A fixer-upper is a fantastic way to get your real estate investing career off to a good start.

Final Thoughts on Buying a Fixer-Upper or Rehab Home

No matter if you’re purchasing a fixer-upper or a rehab home, make sure you ask plenty of questions. Conduct extensive study and due diligence before making a decision. Make certain that you are not just concerned with the house itself. Have you had a look at the neighborhood in which the home is located? What do you think of the neighborhood in general? Is there anything in the neighborhood that makes you think twice about making a purchase? Is there anything in the region that makes you think twice about buying?

What criteria are used to evaluate them?

It’s important to remember that acquiring a house is about more than just the property itself; it’s about everything that goes along with it.

When purchasing a house that will require a significant amount of renovation, it is critical to educate yourself about the situation.

It is possible that failing to do so will result in severe regret once it is too late. Some people take on more than they can chew, and you don’t want to be one of those individuals.

Other Valuable Realty Biz News Features

  • The most often asked questions when purchasing a property– do you know some of the most important questions that many home buyers will ask their real estate agent? Check out the most often asked questions and make sure you understand the answers
  • What to consider when buying a house that needs renovation – read on for more points to think about if you are thinking about acquiring a fixer-upper property
  • Deal breakers when buying a fixer-upper– Are there any issues with a fixer-upper that you should avoid if you are considering purchasing one? Here are a few of the reasons that force some customers to pass on a purchase: Find out if it makes sense to acquire your home loan through a mortgage broker or a local bank
  • Should I Get My Mortgage Through A Bank Or A Broker?

Questionnaire for purchasing a property– do you know some of the most often asked questions that home buyers will ask their real estate agent? Make sure you understand the answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs). What to consider when buying a house that needs renovation – read on for more points to take into account if you are thinking about acquiring a fixer-upper property – Any issues that should cause you to walk away from a fixer-upper – Are there any issues that should cause you to walk away from a fixer-upper?

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Should I obtain my mortgage through a bank or a broker– find out whether it makes more sense to acquire your house loan through a mortgage broker or a local bank.

Know the Difference: Fixer Uppers vs. Rehab Homes

Nicholas Brown contributed to this article. Acquiring a property that need a little TLC is a terrific way to build an investment portfolio fast, but there are several levels of “TLC” that you should take into account. First and foremost, let’s draw a boundary between a fast fixer upper and a complete rehabilitation. A fixer upper is a property that is technically solid but might benefit from some aesthetic improvements to increase its resale value. Painting, new carpets, and refinished flooring are examples of what may be done.

  • It is much more than that, and may encompass everything from roof replacements to water damage repairs and electrical component replacements to name a few.
  • This will almost certainly require contractor work and permits, but it will not cause the house to leak or catch on fire if it is not completed.
  • If you will have to make significant efforts to live in a property before it is more than halfway done, it is likely that it will require rehabilitation.
  • While the phrase “fixer upper” is commonly used to describe homes that require extensive repair before they are suitable for most purchasers, there is a significant difference between a property that only requires a few finishing touches and a home that requires a complete overhaul.
  • Remember the Tom Hanks movie “The Money Pit”?
  • Any time you’re looking for a house, you should engage a professional inspector to come through and check the property.
  • There are certain advantages to purchasing a property that requires a lot of repair, and if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can see a significant return on your investment quite fast.
  • It can also result in higher interest rates, copper theft, and other unanticipated results.

Not only will the home’s worth increase by a significant amount when it catches up with neighboring properties, but it will also improve in value on a regular basis over time in line with the market and inflation, increasing your profit if you decide to hold onto the property (either to live in or as a rental property).

First and foremost, think about your expectations.

Here are some more suggestions to assist you in determining whether or not your fixer upper job will be worth your time and work in the long run.

8 Stages Of A Real Estate Rehab Deal

The Most Important Takeaways

  • What exactly is a real estate rehabilitation project? There are eight steps to real estate rehabbing.

Many aspects of life may be summarized as “By the yard it’s hard, by the inch its a piece of cake,” and this is certainly true in the case of the often-overwhelming idea known as real estate rehabdeal. Despite the fact that rebuilding real estate may be a successful and thrilling type of wealth-building, it can also be a complicated endeavor with more moving parts than a vehicle engine. Nonetheless, by fully comprehending the process of how a house flip works—as well as what a real estate rehabber performs from beginning to end—you will not only gain more information, but your rehab investor IQ will soar to unprecedented levels.

Rehab Real Estate Definition

It is common for investors to acquire a house, renovate it to their specifications and then resell the property for a profit. Depending on the amount of work required, many projects might take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. This is one of the most widely used departure tactics in the industry, and for good reason: it works. Real estate rehab properties may provide substantial profit margins while also assisting investors in expanding their portfolio and network. What it takes to rehab real estate is explained by Nate Tsang, founder and CEO of WallStreetZen, in the following way: “Rehabbers make their money on the backend, but a reduced price on the front end is like a coupon.” Rest assured, however, that just because a rehabber purchases a house at a discount does not imply that they are not extracting the most value from that property.”

How To Rehab Real Estate Properties

Fortunately, understanding how to accomplish a real estate renovation is not as difficult as it may appear at first glance. Even though it will take planning and hard work, by following these steps, you may increase the likelihood of your rehab property becoming a success:

  1. Take a walk around the property to get a better sense of the amount of work that will be required
  2. Produce a scope of work that outlines the parameters of the rehabilitation project
  3. Identify the most qualified contractor for the work
  4. Organize your important paperwork and be ready for the rehabilitation procedure. Begin by submitting an application for the appropriate permits. Manage all parts of the repair project from start to finish
  5. To complete the project, conduct another walk-through and make any final payments, Prepare the property for sale and hold an open house

1. Preparing/Creating A Plan

Starting your repair project requires more than just taking a casual glance at the improvements that will be required and contacting a contractor. You must first do a thorough inspection of the property to confirm that all components of the real estate building process are proceeding as planned. The following are the two aspects you must consider while developing a strategy:

  1. It takes more than just taking a quick glance at the improvements that will be required and contacting a contractor to get your rehab project off the ground. You must first thoroughly inspect the property to confirm that all components of the real estate development process are proceeding as planned. It is necessary to consider two factors while developing a strategy:

When you’re finished, draw a sketch of the property. Create an inventory of the repairs and upgrades you want to see, down to the last square meter, and make a list of them. This will assist you in communicating your concept to your contractors. Another good advice for any repair and flip investor is to always keep an extra lockbox and key on hand in case contractors need to come in and work on the property. The fact that they will no longer need to meet with you each time they require entry to the property will save you time as well.

2. Creating The Scope Of Work

Your ability to work is greatly reliant on your pre-rehab preparation.

This is where you outline the scope of the project so that your contractors are aware of every big and small renovation that has been completed. In order to accomplish this successfully, you must:

  • Examine your planning notes and make a list of all the renovations that will be required (e.g., demolitions, removals, floor installs, etc.)
  • Prioritize each remodeling according to whether it is a need, a want, or an option to save money. Calculate the cost of each job in advance. You should keep in mind that you can forego optional items if the total cost exceeds your budget. Detail everything that has to be done for each and every repair or remodeling, down to the last fixture, faucet, or piece of furniture that needs to be replaced or repaired. Also, consider whether you can repurpose existing materials rather than purchasing new ones. Finish up by determining the scope of your work based on the pricing estimates for each project. Always keep a contingency plan in place in case of unexpected issues.

Your final scope of work is what you will offer to prospective contractors who will then submit bids on the job you have completed. Never forget to compare the worth of your property after improvements with the values of similar homes in the neighborhood. If you sell your house for more than the market is willing to pay, purchasers will shy away from your property.

3. Hire The Contractor

When you have finished with your final scope of work, you will show it to prospective contractors who will then bid on it. Take into consideration how much your property has increased in value compared to other homes in the community. Buyers will avoid your home if you sell it for more than the market is willing to pay.

  • Years of experience
  • Equipment they own
  • Team members
  • Licenses and permissions
  • Insurance
  • Any subcontractors
  • Any bankruptcies
  • And more. An ability and willingness to suggest potential customers in the future

Years of experience; equipment they own; employees on the team; licenses and permissions; insurance; any subcontractors; any bankruptcies; etc. Possibility of referring others in the future.

4. Critical Documents

It is possible to sign the contracts once you have analyzed and selected the contractor who is most appropriate for your rehabbing job. Keep in mind that no project should begin unless all parties involved have agreed on the terms and signed the necessary contracts. (This is an absolute requirement.) Make certain that your documentation has the following information:

  • Independent Contractor Agreement: Describes in detail every aspect of a job, including the cost. The scope of the work describes the size and restrictions of the project, as well as every single resource that will be used in the project. Dates for payment delivery: When will money be delivered
  • A form that specifies the insurance needs of the contractor for their employees and any liabilities that may arise during the course of the project
  • W-9 Tax Form: This is a form that is needed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for independent contractors. Final Lien Waiver: Although this is for the conclusion of the project, it is ideal if you present the contractor the requirements at the beginning of the project.

Schedule a meeting with all of the people involved to go over the forms after they have been completed (contractors, subcontractors). This will provide you with the assurance that everyone engaged is on the same page, especially when it comes to project specifics, timelines, and money allocation. Accept recommendations and resolve disagreements as soon as possible.

5. Getting Started

Although locating the most qualified contractor is an important step in the renovation process, the preparation work does not end there. Following the selection of the individuals with whom you wish to collaborate, you must secure the required licenses for the job at hand. The precise number of permissions necessary for your project may vary depending on its size and location; nevertheless, the fundamental permits required for any project will be the same regardless of where you are located. Permits are typically required for alterations to load-bearing walls, work on or modification of public utility lines, re-roofing the property, the addition of windows and doors, and even the placement of a dumpster near the property for the convenience of material disposal.

In the event that you fail to comply with local laws, you may be subject to fines or even have liens placed against your property, all of which may reduce your potential earnings from the transaction.

Be sure to go through all of the local requirements with your contractor before getting started on your renovation project.

6. Managing The Rehab

Although locating the most qualified contractor is an important step in the renovation process, the preparation work does not end there. Following the selection of the individuals with whom you wish to collaborate, you must secure the required licenses for the project in question. According to the size of your project and the location of your project, the precise number of permissions you will need will vary; nevertheless, the fundamental permits necessary for a project will be the same regardless of where it takes place.

It is critical to remember that obtaining permits is a critical aspect of getting started.

In other situations, investors may even be asked to reverse some repairs that have already been made by the property manager or contractor. Be sure to go through all of the local requirements with your contractor before getting started on your remodeling project.

  • Demolition and garbage cleanup: Removal of damaged things from the construction site (walls, floors, toilets, piping, etc). Dead trees, shrubs, fences, decks, and other debris would be removed from the outside
  • Issues with the foundation and framing: The skeleton of the home is taken care of at this stage. HVAC, plumbing, and electricity: Building inspectors are called in after this step to ensure that the installations have been completed correctly. Insulation: Keep in mind that insulation should only be started after the electrical and plumbing inspections have been completed. Depending on where you are, further examination may be required to determine whether or not you have adequately concealed any wiring, pipe, or ducting. Finishing the trim work and painting: Finishing the trim work and painting are the final steps in your rehabbing process. You will now begin to observe the manifestation of your vision

7. Walk-Through InspectionFinal Payment

Even if you are diligent in your inspections and completely rely on your contractor, there will be a few items that slip through the cracks. It is required to undertake a second tour of the property after all initial inspections have been completed in order to account for this. Check to see if the contractor provided all that was specified in the contracts. Also, don’t forget that final inspections are required in order to complete the process of obtaining your building permits. (Set aside some time for this.) When you are satisfied with the job, you should draft the Final Waiver of Lien, which must be signed by the contractor.

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8. Staging (Open House)

You’ve come a long way, but it’s time to put your house on the market now. Essentially, this entails cleaning and preparing the residence for display purposes. A house’s staging provides prospective buyers a sense of how they might make best use of the available space in a given property. Bathroom, master bedroom, kitchen, and living room should all be staged. Give them a sense of what it would be like to live in this house if they were to visit. Additionally, make certain that the exterior is equally as attractive (e.g., lawn, fences).

You want to consider how you can make a positive and long-lasting impact on potential buyers during the sales process.

What actions can you do to assist in the closing of the deal?


The road to becoming a rehab investor might be difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with real estate rehab projects under your belt already. Notably, by breaking down the home flipping process into seven important steps, you’ll begin to notice that the successful repair and flip investor doesn’t try to accomplish everything at once, which is a good thing to keep in mind. They have a clear understanding of the larger picture. Meanwhile, they maintain a careful check on the day-to-day development of a patient’s treatment and rehabilitation program.

Get ready to start flipping properties in your local market as soon as possible.

It is possible to learn the precise procedures to flip your first house the right way and achieve success in real estate by taking our new online real estate class, which is led by professional investor Than Merrill.

You can learn how to flip properties in your area by attending our FREE 1-Day Real Estate Webinar.

What is an FHA 203(k) Rehab Loan?

Rehab loans are intended to assist homeowners in making improvements to their existing property or in purchasing a home that potentially benefit from upgrades, repairs, or renovations in the future. A 203(k) rehab loan is a terrific approach to help you build your own home equity quickly by updating the inside and outside of your property.

  • Uncomplicated method of financing home upgrades without the requirement for impeccable credit, large down payments, or excessive interest rates
  • Upgrade your property to reflect your personal style and requirements
  • Purchase a home that is typically listed at a reduced price owing to the older condition of the property
  • In one loan, you may get great interest rates for your rehab. Comes with a low down payment requirement
  • If you make a down payment of 3.5 percent, you won’t have to spend all of your funds trying to come up with the money. Because your mortgage is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, your qualification requirements may be less stringent than for a traditional loan.

The material provided in the preceding section is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be taken as professional advice for your individual situation. Please talk with a Mortgage Financing Originator to learn more about the loan choices that are available.

An FHA rehab mortgage is perfect for fixer-uppers

As local property markets become increasingly constrained, purchasing a fixer-upper with an FHA rehab mortgage loan may be your best bet for finding a home in your ideal community. Rehab mortgages are a sort of home renovation loan that may be used to acquire a property that needs work. The FHA 203(k) loan is the most prevalent type of rehab mortgage available. These allow purchasers to borrow enough money to not only purchase a home, but also to cover the costs of repairs and improvements that may be required on a fixer-upper property.

They may also utilize these loans to purchase fixer-uppers in nicer communities where properties that don’t require as much work aren’t currently on the market since they aren’t being advertised.

“Many purchasers may not immediately contemplate acquiring a property that requires extensive repairs or modifications, but they should consider doing so.” The use of rehab loans, according to Denise Supplee, a real estate agent in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and co-founder of SparkRental, has enabled her customers to purchase homes in communities that would have previously been out of reach.

Because of a 203(k) loan, this buyer was able to look for a home in the community she desired, despite the fact that she did not have a high-end budget.

It is more difficult to predict the amount of repair work that will be required on fixer-uppers, which means that there is more that may go wrong with a rehab loan, according to her.

It’s not a bad idea to take up part of the job yourself.”


Close a rehab loan is a more difficult undertaking than it is to close a conventional mortgage. Take, for example, the FHA 203(k) loan: When you finalize this loan, you are including your projected remodeling expenditures into your existing mortgage payment structure. This is the sum of the sales price of the property plus the expected cost of the repairs you’ll be performing, which includes the costs of labor and materials. This is the amount of your final loan. An authorized 203(k) loan will require you to submit your lender with a documented estimate of repairs from a licensed contractor before your loan can be granted.

  1. Afterwards, the money is distributed to the contractors in a series of draws when the job is completed.
  2. The first is a traditional loan.
  3. With this edition, you may borrow a maximum of $35,000 for home improvements.
  4. Repair costs are not limited in any way, but the entire mortgage amount must still fall within the FHA’s mortgage lending restrictions for your location in order to qualify.
  5. Your 203(k) loan requires that you begin construction on your new house within 30 days of closing, and that the work be completed within six months of starting the project.
  6. The HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage, which is offered by Fannie Mae, is another type of rehab financing.
  7. Before Fannie Mae will give you any money, it must first approve your contractor.

Rehab plans generated by your contractor, renovation consultant, or architect will also need to be submitted with your application. The plans should include a description of all of the work you want to do, an estimate of the expenses, and an estimate of the start and conclusion dates.

Could be financial risks

Closing a rehab loan is a more difficult undertaking than it is to close a conventional mortgage. Take, for example, the 203(k) loan from the Federal Housing Administration. When you finalize this loan, you are including your projected remodeling expenditures into your existing mortgage payment schedule. This is the sum of the sales price of the home plus the expected cost of the repairs you’ll be performing, including the costs of labor and materials. This is the entire amount of your final loan.

  • An escrow account is used to hold the monies for the repairs that will be performed.
  • Loans under the 203(k) program are divided into two categories: It is only available for properties that do not require structural repairs to qualify for the Limited 203(k).
  • This version allows you to borrow a maximum of $35,000 for repairs.
  • Repair costs are not limited in any way, but the overall mortgage must still fall within the FHA’s mortgage lending guidelines for your particular location.
  • Your 203(k) loan requires that you begin construction on your new house within 30 days of closing, and that the work be completed within six months of starting work.
  • The HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage, which is offered by Fannie Mae, is another type of rehabilitation financing.
  • Before Fannie Mae will loan you any money, it must first approve your contractor’s qualifications.
  • It is important that the plans include a description of all of the work you will be performing, an estimate of the expenses, and an estimate of when you will begin and finish the job.

How to Rehab a House: 10 Straightforward Steps to Follow

The most recent update was made on August 20, 2021. Some of the most popular television series revolve around the process of renovating a home. Real estate investors all around the world dream of finding a bargain, fixing it up, and then selling it for a profit. While rehabilitating properties has the potential to be a rewarding investment plan, it does involve a significant amount of study, time, and effort.

Throughout this post, we’ll go over the benefits of rehabbing as a real estate investment strategy, as well as how to go about doing so. The Most Important Takeaways

  • Investment property rehabbers frequently acquire a home at a discounted price, perform necessary renovations, and then resell or rent the property to a qualified renter. A house renovation can also be done to enhance gross rental revenue or to increase the value of the property. It is estimated that the average cost to repair a property will range from $15 and $60 per square foot or more, depending on the type of rehab being done and the location of the home. The most important aspects of rehabbing a property are assessing the after-rehab value, obtaining building permits, and executing interior and exterior modifications.

What is a House Rehab?

Those involved in the rehab of a house purchase a property in its existing condition and then restore or renovate it to make it more appealing to potential buyers. A house rehab can be carried out by an investor looking for a quick return or by a rental property owner with an eye on the long-term investment potential of the property. In this technique, investors acquire properties at a discount from their market value, then undertake any necessary repairs and modifications in the hopes of reselling the home for a profit.

  • Buy-and-hold real estate investors with a long-term outlook may also choose to renovate a property in order to boost gross rental revenue and force appreciation in the property’s value.
  • The first way involves converting a garage, attic, or basement into extra living space, so increasing the quantity of rentable square feet available for rental.
  • The second option involves increasing the value of a property by installing an additional bedroom or bathroom.
  • Before starting a new construction project, investors do a comparative market study to see whether the projected rise in house value outweighs the expense of adding a room.

Average Cost to Rehab a House

House renovation or rehab costs on average can range from $15 to $60 per square foot, with some projects costing far more. Among the variables that influence the cost to rehab a house are the location, size, and age of the property, whether a single room is being renovated or the entire house, and the current cost of labor and materials on the market. According to Realtor.com, the following is an estimate of what the average renovation expenditures of a property would be: Low-priced: $25,000-$45,000 Items such as painting the interior and outside of the house, making little modifications such as refinishing kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and upgrading the landscape to increase the curb appeal of the property are included in this category.

$76,000 or more is considered high.

How to Rehab a House in 10 Steps

Renovation or rehabbing a property can cost anywhere from $15 to $60 per square foot, with certain projects costing far more. The location, size, and age of the property, whether a single room is being refurbished or the entire home, and the current cost of labor and materials are all factors that influence the cost of rehabbing a residence. According to Realtor.com, the following is an estimate of the average renovation expenditures for a house: The starting point is between $25,000 and $45,000.

$46,000 to $75,000 is a medium-level salary.

High-end: $76,000 or over. The cost of correcting structural components such as the roof, foundation, or problems with the sewage line that connects the house to the municipal utilities is included in a high-cost rehab in addition to the cost of the low- and medium-cost labor.

1. Evaluate Current Property Condition

Before making an offer on a property, get it inspected and evaluated by a contractor to ensure that it is in good shape. Consider structural and mechanical things that are the most expensive to repair or replace, such as the foundation and roof, flooring and insulation, walls and ceilings, air conditioning and heating system, as well as the plumbing and electrical infrastructure.

2. Calculate ARV and Offer Price

Assess the property’s condition with an inspector and a contractor before making an offer on the property. Concentrate on structural and mechanical things that are the most expensive to repair or replace, such as the foundation and roof, flooring and insulation, walls and ceilings, air conditioning and heating system, and plumbing and electrical systems and components.

  • The maximum purchase price is equal to (ARV x 70 percent) less the repair cost.

3. Create a Rehab Checklist

A rehab checklist lists the tasks that must be completed, with distinct parts for interior and exterior improvements. Examples of tasks include: Interior

  • The foundation, basement, framing, insulation, paint, walls, doors and trim, flooring, the kitchen, appliances, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, and the fixtures
  • Masonry or siding are examples of this. Roof
  • Gutters
  • Windows
  • Paint
  • Garage
  • Driveway and sidewalk are included. Landscaping
  • Fencing
  • Connections to utilities (water, sewage, gas, and electric)
  • If the land is not linked to the city sewage system, a septic system is required. Swimming pool (if one is available)

4. Calculate a Budget

After the rehab checklist has been used to define the scope of the job, the following step is to collect numerous quotations from different contractors to compare and contrast. Asking for personal referrals from an investor-friendly real estate agent or driving around neighborhoods searching for persons working on current restoration projects are also effective methods of finding a contractor. Often, while undertaking a large-scale rehab project, investors employ a general contractor, who in turn hires subcontractors and handymen to work on certain aspects of the project.

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As a result, if the total cost of the project is $75,000, the general contractor will earn a fee of around $7,500.

5. Hire a General Contractor

Some contractors are self-employed, while others are employed by or linked with big construction corporations or organizations. As long as the contractor has prior expertise with house renovations, any method might be a suitable choice: The following questions should be asked by investors when hiring a general contractor, according to Forbes:

  • How long has your company been in operation? What previous project management experience do you have with this sort of project
  • Are you in possession of the essential permissions, licenses, and insurance? Do you have any recent testimonials? Can you tell me about the pricing estimate and time frame for this project?

6. Pull Permits

How long have you been in business for yourself and your employees? Can you tell me about your previous experience working on this kind of project? Do you have all of the essential permissions, licenses, and insurance in order to operate your business? Possessing recently obtained recommendations is very recommended. Please provide an estimate of the cost and schedule for this project.

7. Begin Demolition

Removal of garbage and waste from a property, as well as the removal of objects that will be replaced, including doors and windows, appliances, cabinets, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures are all part of the demolition process.

Renovating a home and starting with a “blank slate” makes the process considerably more efficient and allows work to move at a more consistent pace.

8. Start Exterior Improvements

Roof, windows, and siding are some of the outside components of the repair job that should be started first. In addition to attracting the attention of neighbors and potential home buyers and tenants passing by, properties undergoing renovations typically attract the notice of potential buyers and tenants driving by. The investor may use this information to develop a prospect list so that the property does not lie unoccupied for an excessive amount of time once the rehab work is completed and the home is ready to rent or sell.

9. Complete Interior Rehab

The following are examples of interior objects that should be replaced or updated depending on the amount of rehab being done:

  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment
  • Lines of plumbing and sewerage
  • Framing, walls, and doors are all included. The attic and basement (if they are being refurbished to provide more living space)
  • Skim and fix existing walls, or put up new drywall or sheetrock to cover the holes. Painting using a primer and two more coats
  • Kitchen and bath fixtures, such as cabinets, sinks, appliances, bathtubs, and shower stalls, should be replaced. Making a punch list of open objects – such as missing light switch covers or ceiling fans – while passing around the house after the first repair work is completed can help you avoid making costly mistakes later on. Installing flooring and carpets is a must. Clean the house to a high standard and make minor repairs to the grounds.

10. Execute The Exit Strategy

Make contact with any possible purchasers or tenants who shown an interest while the house was being reconstructed. If you intend to rent out the home to a renter, you should advertise the property for rent on an internet listing site. If you’re selling the property, try advertising it for sale on the Roofstock Marketplace, which connects you with a global network of real estate investors. Roofstock is the leading platform for buying and selling single family rental houses, having executed deals totaling more than $3 billion in the past year.

Renovations with the Largest Potential ROI

When rehabbing a property, investors often concentrate on the improvements and enhancements that would provide the greatest possible return on their investment. According to the Key Trends in the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report published by Remodeling Magazine, the following are the goods that provide the greatest return on investment (ROI):

Project Job Cost (national average) % of Cost Recovered
Garage door replacement $3,907 94%
Manufactured stone veneer $10,386 92%
Siding replacement $19,626 69%
Window replacement (vinyl) $19,385 69%
Siding replacement (vinyl) $16,576 68%
Window replacement (wood) $23,219 67%
Deck addition (wood) $16,766 66%
Entry door replacement (steel) $2,082 65%
Deck addition (composite) $22,426 63%
Grand entrance (fiberglass) $10,044 61%
Roofing replacement (asphalt shingles) $28,256 61%
Bathroom remodel (mid-range) $24,424 60%
Universal design bathroom $38,813 58%
Major kitchen remodel (mid-range) $75,571 57%
Roofing replacement (metal) $46,031 56%
Bathroom remodel (upscale) $75,692 55%
Master suite addition (mid-range) $156,741 55%
Major kitchen remodel (mid-range) $149,079 54%
Bathroom addition (mid-range) $56,946 53%
Bathroom addition (upscale) $103,613 53%
Master suite addition (upscale) $320,976 48%

Final Tips for Rehabbing a House

Keeping track of bills, payments, and receipts may often feel like a full-time job when working on a renovation project since there are so many moving aspects to consider. Signing up for a free account with Stessa is a wonderful way to get started with spending tracking automation. To register a property location, link bank accounts swiftly and securely, and generate financial reports such as income, net cash flow, and capital expense statements, it takes only a few minutes. Other suggestions for rehabilitating a house are as follows:

  • During a renovation process, maintain the front yard tidy and clear of waste to maximize curb appeal. Make certain that the appropriate licenses are obtained in order to avoid any complications once the house has been rented or sold. Build in additional space into your restoration budget in case material or labor expenses go up unexpectedly. Include carrying costs such as insurance, property taxes, electricity, and short-term financing required to repair a house in your calculations.

The Pros & Cons of Getting a Rehab Mortgage

Note from the editor: This blog post was first published in July 2018 and has been updated to reflect recent industry developments. In light of the present low interest rate environment in the real estate market, as well as the fact that demand outstrips availability, more and more purchasers are looking for innovative ways to obtain their ideal properties. Rather than risk losing another bid or failing to fulfill mortgage requirements, some people are gravitating toward acquiring houses that need restoration or remodeling.

These elements include the precise type of loan, the requirements, and the qualifications.

Conventional options, such as the Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation and the Fannie Mae HomeStyle programs, are also viable possibilities for home improvement projects.

It is critical to get advice from a trustworthy and approved lender, such as Contour Mortgage, while deciding on the best course of action. We’ll go through the different types of rehab mortgages and the primary pros and downsides of each in the sections below.

Government-Backed Rehab Loans

These loans vary from standard rehab loans in that they are backed by the Federal Housing Administration. 203(k)renovation loans provide financing for house purchases and renovations, whether you are doing the work yourself or using a contractor. It’s vital to note that this loan includes two sub-types, each of which is tailored to a certain refurbishment type, location, and scope of work:

Limited 203(k)

Flooring, appliances, plumbing and electrical work, as well as kitchen and bathroom upgrades are among the non-structural repairs that are most appropriate. Total costs are limited to a set number, which varies depending on your area.

Standard 203(k)

This loan is designed to address foundation damage caused by flooding, storms, and other natural disasters. As a result of the more expensive and time-consuming repairs required, the loan has higher loan limitations.


Renovating and repairing fixer-uppers can generate a large return on investment (ROI) due to the rise in value as a result of the improvements and repairs. If the home requires a significant amount of work, you may be able to negotiate an even lower purchase price depending on your area.

You can personalize your new home as your own.

In order to make your house your own, you will need a 203(k) loan to cover value-added, non-structural improvements. Paint colors, flooring, cabinets, countertops, and other cosmetic upgrades are examples of what may be done.

The qualifications are slightly more lenient.

203(k) loans, which are made available through the Federal Housing Administration, have less severe standards in terms of credit histories and scores, loan ceilings, and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios. While the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) does not offer cash directly to purchasers, it does cover loans made via certified lenders such as Contour Mortgage.

Only a 3.5 percent down-payment is required.

203(k) loan down payments are much lower than conventional loan down payments, in addition to meeting the other conditions of the loan. You may purchase your ideal house with a down payment of only 3.5 percent of the sales price at the closing. You’ll also have extra cash on hand to spend on things like furnishings, relocation bills, and other necessities.

You won’t spend all your money at once.

Because you will be employing loan funds to renovate your new or existing house, you will not be dedicating a big sum of money at one time to your project. Instead, you can reduce the amount of money you pay each month until the debt is paid off.


203(k) mortgages allow buyers to acquire multi-family properties with the condition that the property does not contain more than four units per building.

Only certain upgrades are covered.

Prior to approval, all repairs and upgrades must be detailed and documented in writing. A trustworthy lender will make certain that you have the most up-to-date and accurate information. It’s also a good idea to double-check particular covered items and monetary limits.

It’s not ideal for borrowers requiring a turnkey home.

While some people are enthusiastic about the prospect of renovating and customizing a house, others choose to acquire a property that is ready to move into.

Purchasers who are not interested in making any big renovations to their future house would profit from alternative credit choices, such as conventional loans.

Conventional Rehab Loans

In addition to the 203(k) rehab loans sponsored by the Federal Housing Administration, the Federal National Mortgage Association, popularly known as Fannie Mae, provides its HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage to qualified borrowers. Another alternative is to apply for a CHOICERenovation loan, which is offered by Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae Homestyle

This loan, which is available as a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) or an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), has an initial principal amount that cannot exceed Fannie Mae’s maximum loan limit amount. According to the HomeStyle Renovation Mortgages: Loan and Borrower Eligibilityrequirements, borrowers purchasing a home cannot incur rehab costs totaling more than “75 percent of the lesser of the sum of the purchase price of the property plus renovation costs, or the ‘as-completed’ appraised value of the property,” according to the HomeStyle renovation mortgages: loan and borrower eligibility requirements.


Select the option that best meets your requirements from either list. It is important to note that the initial principle cannot exceed the maximum mortgage amount allowed by the association for a conventional main mortgage.

This loan can be combined with other Fannie Mae products.

Fannie Mae allows consumers to combine their renovation loan with other Fannie Mae products, such as HomePath or RefiNow, to save on interest costs.


This financing will not cover the costs of a total deconstruction or foundation reconstruction.

Additional paperwork will be required.

Given the nature of this loan, you’ll be required to provide extra documentation, such as a work plan, standard renovation loan agreement, consumer remodeling details, and others.

Renovations must be completed within a specified time frame.

All work must be completed within 12 months of the deadline for submission.

Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation

CHOICE is a single-family and multi-unit house that is suitable for a variety of uses. Renovation loans can also be used to finance the purchase of second homes or rental properties. This fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is similar to the aforementioned Fannie Mae HomeStyle in that it is available for a 15- or 30-year term and has reduced down payment, debt-to-income (DTI), and credit standards.


Lenders will take down payments as little as 3.5 percent and credit scores as low as 620 for these loans, which are similar to the aforementioned FHA 203(k) and Fannie Mae HomeStyle loans.

It’s not just for single-family homes.

It is appropriate for purchase of investment houses, second homes, and other multi-family dwellings using this financing. Certain restrictions will apply depending on the geographic region.


If you’re looking for foreclosure or auction houses, you might want to factor in extra time for the approval procedure to accommodate your schedule.

You cannot be affiliated with any parties involved in the loan transaction.

Borrowers are not permitted to be in business with, or otherwise associated with, the home’s builder, developer, or seller.

The Takeaway

When it comes to selecting the ideal rehab loan, it’s critical to engage with a reputable lender, such as Contour Mortgage, to ensure a successful outcome.

We can assist with finance requirements and help negotiate what’s best for your needs. Contour Mortgage offers a variety of rehab loan options. Get in touch with us now to learn more about how we can assist you in securing the finest choice to help you accomplish your dream house.

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